According to an article recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, high intake of aspartame (NutraSweet®) does not appear to increase the risks of cancers originating in the brain or blood.
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is often found in diet soft drinks, ice tea, coffees, or fruit juices. Results from animal studies have indicated that high levels of aspartame may be associated with an increased development of cancers originating in the brain or blood.
Due to the prevalence of cancer in the United States, researchers have made efforts to evaluate potential associations between dietary intake or other environmental factors and risks of specific cancers.
Researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health recently conducted a study to evaluate the potential association between aspartame intake and the development of brain or blood (hematologic) cancers. This study included over 285,000 men and nearly 189,000 women ages 50 to 71 years. Patients filled in a food frequency questionnaire regarding aspartame intake and were followed for five years.
- There was no increase in the risk of brain cancers among patients with higher levels of aspartame consumption.
- There was no increase in the risk of hematologic cancers among patients with higher levels of aspartame consumption.
The researchers concluded that high consumption of aspartame does not appear to increase the risk of developing brain or hematologic cancers. However, longer follow-up may provide additional information about these associations.
Reference: Lim U, Subar A, Mouw T, et al. Consumption of Aspartame-Containing Beverages and Incidence of Hematopoietic and Brain Malignancies. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2006;15: 1654-1659.